Sunday, March 6, 2016

Chole Chicken ( chicken with chickpeas )

Chole chicken??? Sounds weird right? Well, I agree that it sounds weird, but it tastes just fantastic! You have to try this dish to find out for yourself if I am telling you the truth.

Why did I come up with this dish? Quite accidentally actually. My little daughter has only now expanded her palate to include chicken. And she wants real chicken with bones that has been curried. Very interesting. One time, I was making Chole for my son's school family feast. My daughter comes upto me and requests for chicken curry for lunch. What was I supposed to do? That's when the idea struck. I kept aside some of the masala ( sauce ) that I made for the Chole . I had some chicken marinated in the fridge. I sautéed the masala and then added the chicken to it and cooked it until 2 whistles. Voila chicken curry was ready. Towards the end another inspiration struck and I added some chick peas to it. My daughter doesn't like to eat chick peas. I figured, with the chicken she would eat and she sure did. That was how Chole chicken was born!

This combination however is really not that novel. In Bangladeshi and Pakistani cuisine, combining chickpeas with chicken is common place. I strongly suggest that you try for yourself and see. I promise you, you will not be disappointed! It is a great side dish that pairs wonderfully with any kind of rice, bread or flatbreads.

Servings: 3-4


Garbanzo beans/Chick peas ( Kabuli Chana): One 10 oz can
( you could also use 1 cup dried chick peas soaked overnight and then cooked to required level of tenderness).
Chicken: 2 lbs, drumsticks/thighs
Lemon juice: 1 tbsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Cooking oil: 1 + 1/2 tbsp
Jeera( cumin seeds): 1/2 tsp
Onion: 1 large, chopped.
Garlic: 3-4  small cloves, chopped fine
Ginger: 1 inch piece, chopped fine.
Green chillies: 4, chopped fine ( you can adjust as per individual spice level).
Tomato paste: 2 tbsp ( can also use 1 fresh medium sized tomatoes).
Chole masala: 1 tbsp ( I use Everest or MDH brands) ( If you don't have Chole masala, kindly use the spices suggested in the "cooking made easy" section).
Red chili powder: 1/4 tsp
Kasoori methi( dried fenugreek leaves): 1 tbsp
Salt: as per taste
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Water: 1 cup
Chaat masala: 1/4 tsp ( I use Everest brand)( optional).
Cilantro ( coriander leaves): 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp, chopped.


Marinating the chicken:
Clean the chicken thoroughly and cut it into big pieces. Marinate it with lemon juice, salt, black pepper and turmeric powder and keep aside in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Heat 1 tbsp cooking  oil in a sauté pan/ pressure pan. Add the garlic, ginger, sauté for a minute. Add in the chopped onions and sauté until the onions sweat. Add in the green chillies. If using fresh chopped tomato, you may add it now. If using tomato paste, DO NOT ADD at this stage. Once the fresh tomatoes wilt a little, turn off the flame and let the mixture cool down. Once cooled take it in a blender/food processor and pulse it to a fine paste. Keep it aside.

Rinse and drain the chick peas and keep aside.

Heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil in the same pan. Add jeera( cumin seeds). Sauté for 30 seconds. Add the ground paste and the tomato paste ( if you have not used fresh tomatoes earlier). Sauté for 4-5mins on medium flame until the tomato paste starts leaving oil.Add the Chole masala powder, red chilli powder and mix well. Add the marinated chicken, kasoori methi, coriander leaves, salt, sugar, and mix well. Add 1 cup water and bring the mixture to a boil. If using the pressure cooker, cover the lid with the whistle on. Reduce the flame to
medium-low and cook until you hear 2 whistles. Turn of the flame. Do not open until all the pressure inside has been released.

If using a sauté pan,  cover and let it simmer until the chicken has cooked to the desired tenderness.

Garnish with coriander leaves and chat masala.

Serve hot with rice/bread/flat bread.

Enjoy! I am bringing this to Throwback Thursday, Saucy Saturday and Angie's Fiesta Friday where  Josette @ thebrookcook and Lily @ little sweet baker are co-hosts. I know I am a little late for the party but I was busy having a birthday party for my daughter.

Cooking made easy:

If you do not have Chole masala or Chana masala spice mix, just add ( for the above recipe):
3/4  tbsp coriander powder,
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala

The Chana masala or the Chole spice mix has a lot more ingredients in it, but the above mix more than compensates for the mix. The most and best compliments I have received is when I made Chole/Chana masala without the spice mix and using the above substitutes. This and other experiences has over the years, now has me with minimal spice mixes in my kitchen cabinet. If you notice you basically need coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala in varied proportions in most dishes. So, why buy all the spice mixes and let them sit in your pantry??
Think about it.

Tip for healthy living:

Make your meals healthier by gradually increasing the proportion of protein, fruits and vegetables in your plate while reducing the proportion of rice/roti/ bread on it.

Food for thought:

Imagination is the eye of the soul. Joseph Joubert

Please do share your thoughts. Your opinion matters!

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